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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Shotokan Karate? Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word "Karate" is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners, Karateka, are unarmed. There are several styles of karate, one of the most popular is Shotokan Karate. This style was originated by an Okinawan teacher of Physical Education, Funakoshi Gichin who introduced it to Japan in 1922. In Japan the style was developed by the Japanese Master, Masatoshi Nakayama, there has been relatively few changes since then, and Shotokan has spread to become the most widely practiced style of Karate throughout the world.
Who can practice Karate? Karate is practised by men, women and children, our students range from 6 to 60. Woolton Garston Shotokan Karate Club offers a caring, safe environment where children and adults can learn the art of karate. Its practice leads to: Muscular and Aerobic fitness Body alignment, balance and movement Increased perceptual awareness Stress management Concentration, confidence and discipline
How do I begin training? To begin training in karate all that is needed is a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, after a few weeks of training you can purchase a GI (pronounced gee) or karate suit, from your instructor or Sensei (sen say). Your Gi will come complete with a white belt. When you enter the training hall, Dojo (doe joe), you should pause and with your heels together and hands flat at your side in the attention stance. When standing in the attention stance you should perform a standing bow to the centre of the dojo, this is to be done even when the dojo is empty and it is also done when leaving the dojo. Always treat the dojo with respect along with your fellow students (karateka) and warm up quietly before the class begins
What is a Dojo? The art of karate-do places great emphasis on the development of the character of its students, and a code of behaviour is used, together with the physical training, so that technical skill, physical fitness and good behaviour become synonymous with karate-do. The code is based on a mutual respect of teachers and students for the art of karate-do, and acknowledges that respect must be show for seniority. Practitioners of karate are expected to show the same respect for the society in which they live, and for those who live in that society. It is a source of great satisfaction that English karate has earned a reputation for producing world-class teachers and competitors. All karate students have a duty to behave in a way which will maintain and enhance this reputation on behalf of their club and their association. "The ultimate aim of the art of karate-do is not in victory nor defeat, but in the development of the character of its participants." 1) Always bow on entering and leaving the dojo. 2) Junior grades must bow first to their seniors. 3) Instructors must be referred to as "Sensei", and not by name. 4) Nails must be kept clean, and short enough to avoid scratching or cutting. 5) Jewellery and watches should not be worn. If it is not possible to remove rings or earrings, they should be safely covered. 6) It may be requested that shoes be removed before entering the dojo. If not, it is polite to walk around the edge of the training area, not across it. 7) Late arrivals should enter the dojo quietly and warm up. When they wish to join the class, they must kneel at the front and to the side of the     class where they can be clearly seen by the sensei, and watch carefully for the signal to join in. 8) When the signal is given, they should remain kneeling, bow, then walk quickly around the back of the class and join their grade. 9) There should be no smoking, swearing or spitting in the dojo. Do I need any special equipment? It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that their gi fits correctly and is kept clean and in a good state of repair. Tears and other damage must be repaired prior to the following training session. Association or club badges can be embroidered or stitched onto the gi, and for competitions, a number or country badge may be required for identification. The appropriate coloured belt (obi) must be worn with the gi at all times. Where a stripe is required, it must cover the whole length of the belt What will training involve? When called to line up at the beginning of training karateka line up in order of the belt grades, from black to white, line up with everyone else and check you are next a person with the same belt colour as yourself. Before training begins the class will kneel down, sitting back on your heels, and then perform a sitting bow on the command of "sensei rei" after this the class is asked to stand and assume the attention stance. This kneeling bow is performed at the end of training also. If you arrive after the class has begun, quietly prepare yourself and then kneel at the edge of the dojo and wait to be called by the sensei to join in the training. remember training begins and ends with courtesy. After the formal beginning there will be a warm up routine followed by the training, the three elements of training are basics (Kihon) Kata (Forms) and Kumite (Sparring) karateka must again show respect to the sensei and the class by not talking and replying to any instruction from the sensei with "Oss" to show they have understood. If the karateka needs to gain the attention of the sensei they should raise their hand and wait to be acknowledged. If you are asked to move to a different place in the dojo or asked to face another karateka when more advanced always perform a standing bow. During training when full power is used karateka will use "kiai" (kee eye) to enhance power, kiai is a loud noise made by the karateka on completion of a powerful technique it is similar to the noise made when lifting something heavy as your muscles tighten on impact When will I take gradings to show progress? Students will be eligible to grade providing they have fulfilled all technical requirements, hold a current KUGB licence and record book and have permission to grade from their senior club instructor. They must train on average twice per week at a KUGB dojo, with an approved KUGB instructor. The record book and licence must be produced at the grading for the examiner's inspection and signature. Novices may grade after two months of training. There must be a minimum of three monthly intervals between each grading from 9th Kyu to 1st Kyu.It is possible for exceptional students to be graded directly to 8th Kyu, but this is at the discretion of the examiner. A student may receive a 'Temporary' grade, which means that they are not quite up to the required standard. They will however wear the same coloured belt and train on the same syllabus as if they were a full grade.